Big Stone County, Minnesota Genealogy

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Guide to Big Stone County, Minnesota ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Big Stone County, Minnesota
Map of Minnesota highlighting Big Stone County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the U.S. highlighting Minnesota
Location of Minnesota in the U.S.
Founded February 20, 1862
County Seat Ortonville
Address Big Stone County Courthouse
20 SE 2nd Street
Ortonville, MN 56278-1544
Phone: 320-839-2308
Big Stone County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the Big Stone Lake. The County is located in the west central area of the state. [1]

Big Stone County, Minnesota Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1881 1881 1881 1885 1881 1881 1836
Statewide registration started for births in 1900 and deaths in 1908. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Recorder has birth, marriage and land records from 1881, divorce and court records from 1885.
Court Judge has probate records. [3]

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

  • 1862--Big Stone County was created 20 February 1862 from Pierce County; eliminated 20 Feb 1862. County seat: Ortonville [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1885 Courthouse was destroyed by fire.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
MNGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project FamilySearch Places
Billion Graves
See Minnesota Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

State Census

Church[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Minnesota Church Records.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Land[edit | edit source]

The county register of deeds keeps land records once the land was transferred to private ownership. Abstracts and indexes for these records are generally available at the county courthouse.

Land records for Minnesota are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Big Stone County, Minnesota Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Minnesota Local Histories.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Roberts CountyGrant CountyTraverse CountyStevens CountySwift CountyLac qui Parle CountyMN BIG STONE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

1874 Map of Big Stone, Grant, Stevens, and Traverse counties

Military[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[6][edit | edit source]

  • The Ortonville Independent (May 1920-Current; Weekly)
  • The Northern Star (Jan 1966-Current; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Journal (Jan 1927-Sep 1927; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Star (Jan 1927-Sep 1927; Weekly)
  • Ortonville Journal Star (Oct 1927-Apr 1930; Weekly)
  • The Journal-Star (Sep 1926-Jan 1927; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Journal (Jan 1913-Sep 1926; Weekly)
  • Ortonville Herald Star (Jan 1888-Dec 1912; Weekly)
  • Big Stone County Journal (1892 [?]-Dec 1912; Weekly)
  • The Beardsley News (Apr 1908-Jun 1959; Weekly)
  • The Odessa Tribune (Mar 1898-After Jan 1902 [?]; Weekly)
  • The Phenix (1894-Nov 1912; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript (Aug 1890-1894; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript and Democrat (Jul 1889-Aug 1890; Weekly)
  • The Graceville Democrat (May 1888-Jul 1889; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Headlight (1884-After Mar 1887 [?]; Weekly)
  • The People's Vindicator (1884-Dec1884; Weekly)
  • Graceville Transcript (Oct 1883-Jul 1889; Weekly)
  • Big Stone County Herald (Aug 1879-Dec 1887; Weekly)
  • Ortonville North Star (Jun 1878-Dec1887; Weekly)
  • The Odessa Times (1940 [?]-Sep 1941; Weekly)
  • Graceville Enterprise (1894-Apr 1966; Weekly)
  • The Clinton Advocate (1894 [?]-Apr 1966; Weekly)
  • The Ortonville Star (1920 [?]-Sep 1926; Weekly)
  • The Beardsley News (1896 [?]-Sep 1907; Weekly)
  • The Clinton Advocate (Aug 1892-Jul 1895; Weekly)

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Big Stone County, Minnesota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

Probate records may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. They may include the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. See Minnesota Probate Records for additional information.

Online Probate Records

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Minnesota tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Minnesota Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Minnesota State Registrar of Vital Records, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred], order electronically online ($) or download an application for Minnesota Birth Certificate and Death Certificates Applications to mail.

See also Minnesota Vital Records or How to order Minnesota Vital Records. For information about restrictions and costs for certificates, see the CDC Where to Write for Vital Records site.

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Big Stone County Historical Society and Museum
    985 US Highway 12
    Ortonville, MN 56278
    Phone: 320-839-3359
  • Ortonville Public Library
    412 NW 2nd Stret
    Ortonville, MN 56278
    Phone: 320-8390-2494
  • Graceville Public Library
    415 Studdart Avenure
    PO Box 457
    Graceville, MN 56240
    Phone: 320-748-7332

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Big Stone County, Minnesota" in,_Minnesota accessed 8 Nov 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Big Stone County, Minnesota. Page 362-370 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 362-365.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Big Stone County, Minnesota page 362, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Big Stone County, Minnesota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 21 January 2020.
  6. Minnesota Historical Society Library Catalogue:Big Stone County Newspapers. (accessed December 5, 2011).